Most hospitals in Nigeria lack to look the patient with multifaceted perspective. Social worker provides services to meet the needs of individuals, communities and society. Therefore, the main objective of this research was to assess and explore the Importance of social workers in the Yaba Mental Health Hospital (YABALEFT). Qualitative research approach particularly a case study research design was used. A total of 355 participants were selected from office of which five social workers and ten from the staff members by using purposive sampling. In-depth interview with the social workers and other informants and observation were used to collect data for the study. The data were analyzed by triangulation technique, to create a meaning from qualitatively generated data.

The findings of the study shows that, the social workers of the hospital worked at varied level in line with the standards stated on the NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Health Care setting (2014). Concerning their main importance of social worker in the center, the social worker provided both stated in their job description and outside their job description. However, the study identified that there is a limitation on the presence of an organized and scientifically based job description. According to one of the major findings of this particular study, social workers in the mental health hospital faced various challenges. Most of the challenges were related to the lack of awareness about social workers importance, office problem and lack of office facilities. Moreover, the social workers use different mechanisms to overcome those challenges such creating awareness and develop rapport with the staff. The implication of the research aim at the implication of applying the main standards of social work practices in the health care settings in the hospitals throughout the country effectively and consistently. The study recommends that the rehab center should give attention for the staff of social workers and their activities.   

Chapter One Summary

From the above mentioned and discussed information, the following research questions are formulated and ready to answer in the this research work  

  1. How do the social workers explain their importance in line with National Association of Social Workers (NASW) general standards for social workers in health care setting?
  2. What are the main importance of social workers in the mental health illness hospitals in the Case of Yaba Mental Health Hospital (YABALEFT)?
  3. What are the challenges of social workers in mental health hospitals, in the Case of YABALEFT?
  4. How do the social workers work in cooperation with health professionals and families to facilitate the rehabilitation of individuals with mental health illness in the hospitals?

Chapter Two Summary

Social worker can play a great role in understanding the patient social and environmental aspects, this is clear to any physician in hospital. At the early stages of 20th century social worker expected to provide social and psychological treatment for patients. On the other side, the physicians and other medical practitioners think of social workers as a link between the hospital and patients‟ community and social environment (Beder, J. 2006).  

Social workers practiced in hospital setting within the framework of person- in-environment aiming to support patients get better and bring change in the community. Besides, the  tasks of social workers was to help patients with chronic disease management, mental health issues, alcohol abuse and drug, terminal conditions, physical disabilities, and accessing extended care services (Baksa, 2005). The provision of concrete resources, counseling services and patient advocacy reflect principal categories of activities historically carried out by hospital social workers (Judd and Sheffield, 2010).

Chapter Three summary

The study participants for this research are social workers, health professionals (nurses and physicians who are working in this hospitals) and individuals in administration position who have direct relation to the issue raised and are currently working in these hospitals.  All the social workers will be the main population in the study and asked questions different from other participants. Besides, other than social workers the other participants are physicians, nurses and individuals in administration position who was selected by the recommendations of the social workers. They have worked in relationship with them in the centers and believed to give information regarding social work practice in the hospitals.

In this study non-probability sampling methods was used to collect data, of which purposive sampling techniques was used. Purposive sampling techniques helped the researcher to have appropriate and related key informants‟ to subject matter of this study. The proposed total number of participants in the study was 15; 5 social workers, 10 staff and administrators from the center. The primary rational for selecting these participants is their direct importance with the activities of social work and their willingness and free time to be interviewed.

The researcher selected purposively the participants from the hospital. The researcher chooses this hospital, to the level of the researcher‟s knowledge; no research had been conducted to assess the role of social workers in the mental health.  

The inclusion criteria for the selection of study participants included the following; they importance and practice social work in the study areas, they are currently employees of the study areas and have a relation with the social work services being provided in the study area and are willing to provide the required information about the issue raised.  

Chapter Four Summary

The study also revealed that emotional/social problems are usually referred to the medical social workers and not either to the psychologists or the medical doctors. The above assertion is in support of Butrym (1976) which states that the central characteristics of medical social work is its direct concern with the social and emotional problems connected with illness and its medical treatment and with any consequent adjustments in the lives of patients and their families. It follows from this that constant encounters with the problems of physical pains, mental anguish, various forms of mutilation and death are a major feature of the work.

Chapter Five summary

     The study was carried out in two hospital settings and in view of the importance attached to the health of a nation; the researcher deemed it necessary to carry out a study on the Importance of medical social workers in health care delivery. Apparent in this study is that medical social work has been considered relevant in the treatment process of patients and very effective in solving patients’ psychological problems.

     Other findings showed that medical social work has not been fully integrated into the medical care of patients and this was confirmed by the 49% of the respondents who attested in favour of this. Thus, the results of this study have shown that presence of social work services in our hospitals cannot reduce the incidents of premature deaths. The implication of this is that patients are yet to perceive more of the positive side of having social work services in Nigeria hospitals. Though in Nigeria, social work is a colonial heritage and medical social work as a branch of social work services is a new field, hence only few hospitals have recognized the importance of its services. In view of the above, the under-listed are offered as recommendations.


  • Ababi Zergaw. (2008). Economic burden of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in rural                     Nigeria. Addis Ababa University. Nigeria. 
  • Alemayehu Glemessa.(2005).Assessment of prevalence, determinants and effects of mental disorder among Haromaya University students. Addis Ababa University.  
  • Alemayehu Negash. (2009). Bipolar disorder in rural Nigeria. Sweden Umea press.  
  • Ali, M. and Rafi, S. (2013). Medical Social Work in Pakistan: A Multi-Model Approach to Collaborative Practice in Health Care Settings. University of Sargodha, Pakistan. www.journals.savap.org.pk
  • Atalay Alem.(1997). Mentality health in rural Nigeria: Studies on mental distress, suicidal behavior, and use of chat and alcohol. Umea university medical dissertation. From the department of clinical science. Division of psychiatry, Sweden.  
  • Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). (2014). Queensland Branch Position Paper on the Role of Social Workers in Health Care. Canberra: AASW
  • Australian Association of Social Workers. (2013).  Practice standard. Canberra: AASW. 



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